Interview with a Student:


April 7, 2013 | Revolution Newspaper |


These are excerpts from an interview with a student who attended one of the premieres of the film BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! and, from his perspective, talks about his experience in taking the DVD of the film out to others.


Q: So tell me about this—you were talking about a showing of the DVD after the premiere.

I showed it to a group of nine people. Some still believe that capitalism is the way to go; some people believe that Obama was the savior. So it was good to see their reaction watching the DVD because although they didn't necessarily just flip to the other side, they did open the door to educating themselves on the revolutionary communist movement and why this leader... After watching that and after talking about Bob Avakian for a little bit and explaining to them that he hasn't changed, giving them the CD of the Bob Avakian-Cornel West interview to get a little bit more familiar with it. I think Cornel West was a good anchor towards Bob Avakian. Because although he's not the same, people are familiar with him, so it opens that door. Everybody respects Cornel West so by respecting Cornel West, this guy has a conversation with Bob Avakian and it was very informative.

Q: Tell me who were the people that came.

My brother, my roommates, couple friends, couple cousins. They got the chance to really, like I said, just open doors. There's another avenue, and instead of asking what the other avenue is, they have a couple of answers now which now they're gonna research it, according to what they said to me, they're gonna research it and we've set a date to watch the second part. They're really excited. In fact, we had conversations this whole week, the past couple days about it so....

Q: What are they saying?

"Wow!" That's basically the first thing they're saying. That they didn't know that there was a scientific approach to the other avenue, that it’s not just some boohah talk and things like that.

Q: Can you think of any things they had to say to you during it or after it? Things that stood out to them?

The thing that stood out to them was the attack—not an attack, but the honest analysis on Obama. I think that was the most important because they needed someone to say... because nobody has the guts to say something because, one, he's the first Black president, you know. People think that racism is over and blah, blah, blah. Reality it's not, it's actually worse. So it was good to see them listen to someone.

You know if I'm there and I'm telling them, they will have rebuttals or they're not going to listen... But this guy he's on the screen so you're gonna have to really take what he says. I was watching their reaction and they just looked like a deer in the headlights almost, right? It was interesting for me to see because we had so many heated talks and now they can see where I'm coming from. They don't necessarily have to believe in it, but they have to be educated on who Bob Avakian is.

That's the most important thing is that 95 percent of society don't know who Bob Avakian is. I didn't know about him until I got introduced to you guys... and it's almost like I regret that I didn't know who he was because I wish I knew about him earlier, you know. So I thought that was important, just the introduction to him. It was the most important thing and now that they've watched the first three and a half hours, I'm hoping that we get together, watch the second this next week. But I also want them to read BAsics. I got the book so I highlighted some parts, they looked over some of the highlighted parts. So hopefully they get into that. And like I said I'm not in their face. Hey, you know, the information's here. Like I said, whether you agree with it or not, information's there.

Q: Are you there anything surprising about how they reacted? Or anything you've learned from that?

From their reactions? Yeah, very surprised actually. You know, some people are very stubborn and I come from a stubborn family so by seeing that the door's open for them, was kinda refreshing as much as it was surprising, because in my opinion if I can get someone to at least look into it. Some of the people in that room are very stubborn so if I can get that. It's refreshing that if you keep pushing hard and like Avakian said, don't change, believe in what you believe in and go forward with it so...and he leads by example so he doesn't even have to say anything, he just leads by example and it's great to have a leader that is leading by example.

If you look at it. I mean, the more you educate yourself about Bob Avakian, you almost see that you kinda get the same approach almost every single time. That capitalism isn't the way to go, that he has an approach, he has a method that he's, not perfected yet, but it's as good as it's gonna get right now and it's gonna get better and better the more people we get, the more we get education, the more there's the back and forth. It's gonna get better, but right now, he's telling everybody that the capitalistic society and ways it’s based on genocide, it's based on prejudice, it's based on wars. So we just have to open our eyes, don't beat around the bush.

He wants to change the whole thing, from the grassroots. Who's done that? You get people according to the education in American and the Western societies, they picture guys like Fidel Castro and Che Guevara and Joseph Stalin as the main communists when they weren't. Joseph Stalin was based in capitalistic roots with the Cold War and then Che Guevara and Fidel Castro, they were very small parts... they wanted to change very small parts. What Bob Avakian is doing is... he's a Maoist communist, right? Is that correct, is that what it's called? And so he's getting everybody together from the bottom, from everybody together, communities.

It's good to know that everybody is just as important, communities, it's solidarity, equality. It's all of that. Because communism has a negative connotation with the education that we've gone through, people think "oh no, it's bad" this and that, and revolution has a negative connotation. But that's not what he's saying. Communism is about bringing people together. It's great to see like today, the Supreme Court with the same-sex marriages, it's good to see everybody in solidarity and his cause will bring everything together. That's just a small part, there are bigger parts—not bigger parts—there are other parts to the puzzle. This is just as big as a part, but there are other pieces and if you want to change that, it should be a domino effect, you know what I mean? If you're changing this, it necessarily won't change because everything else around it is the same.

So you gotta change everything. People have to open their eyes and, "hey listen, we can change." Once we change, it's gonna be hard, it's gonna be tough, you're gonna have to crawl, you're gonna have to get up, you're gonna fall, get up, you're gonna run—there's a lotta things—you're gonna climb—but you just have to stay focused. And that's what I mean by him leading by example. This guy was in the '70s, it's almost 40 years later. Although his approach is very rigorous and very hard, he stayed there. Like I said, it's good to see a leader like that. Leaders nowadays, here, flip-flopping every day. It becomes so common that people are overlooking that. But what gets me is like, he's overlooked and generally Bob Avakian is overlooked, and nobody is talking that he hasn't flip-flopped, you know. Everybody's talking about how communism is a bad thing. So that was to me the most important thing. And then if you read the newspaper every day, or every week it comes out...

Q: Revolution newspaper?

Yes, I read it when I can. I’ll be honest. Every day, every article is a new article. You're always educating yourself. There's always a new topic coming up. Or something that already came up but it was just brushed under the rug, so to speak. Now you're looking into it and ... "wow, I can't believe I overlooked this." Four or five years ago, I was in San Francisco during the Oscar Grant killings and I saw the mayhem that went on there. And I saw the way the media tried to portray it. But it was people and they were fighting for a cause. And those people too, they need to understand that it's not just that piece. That's just one piece. So just like the same-sex marriages, that's just another piece. That's just a different piece of the puzzle. They might be connected, they might not, but we have to find all the pieces and put them together and once we put the piece together, flip it over because the change should be coming. It doesn't have to come in a bloody way, it doesn't have to come in a coup.

For me it comes through education and that's what I've learned most through Bob Avakian. I've been educated every time I've looked him up or watched a speech of his or watched the first half of the video, read, read BAsics. Revolution newspaper. So that's the best thing, just education you know. Don't be ignorant about it. Cuz he hasn't been ignorant about the other side. So why are you going to do him a disservice by just being ignorant on his side. He's looked into the other side. He's picked out some of the nice things, but the atrocities come along with the nice things.

Q: Let me ask you a question. How has the premiere and what you've just done, does it change, in other words, does it increase your appreciation for the potential of this revolution and what we can do to advance it right now?

Absolutely, absolutely. The presentation was seven hours, just a shade under seven hours. So it does grow in appreciation because you have to take your time to watch it, but he's listing everything historically. It's historical analysis. So what you thought was the history...that was me. Of course it's giving me more confidence that change doesn't have to come in such a negative way. Change is a positive thing. People improve and progress, that's changing. So we should just look at it like that.

Q: How do you see it in terms of the goal of putting this revolution on the map and making Bob Avakian a household word and bringing forward a critical mass of leaders or initiators of a new stage of revolution? You just did it with the showing you just did.

Like I said, it's through the education. Once... it's almost being... You're progressing when you're reading it and you're not as ignorant so what you do... so what happens is we educate people. If people are willing to listen, those are the people we have to really talk to because they're the ones who have influence over other people. Me, I'm not gonna go and hammer somebody. Oh you gotta this and that. Some guy wants to argue with me. That's fine. I'll give him my facts, he'll give me his facts—those are in quotations—and we can agree to disagree but I'm not gonna challenge that guy. It's on you at the end of the day to change.

Q: Do you feel that what you've learned there, and also in what you just did in showing this to these others, do you feel more confidence that this revolution can get more of a hearing than maybe even you thought it could before? Do you think the people who watched it are gonna get the DVD?

Yeah, absolutely. If you give it to one person, that person passes it to ten. I got it and passed it to nine. God knows how many people they're gonna pass it to. And they're telling their friends that you gotta watch this DVD. So I don't have the exact numbers from them, but you can do the math. If one gives it to... let's just say four people, and each one gives it to three people. That right there is over 10 people in general. And all of a sudden those people give it to 10 different people and it keeps growing and it grows and it grows. That's the important thing.


Send us your comments.

If you like this article, subscribe, donate to and sustain Revolution newspaper.